Time for Change?

Time for Change?
For independent shops, OEM repair information is not always easy to get in Canada.

Better data access is needed to fix those vehicles in our service bays.

There has been a recent push in the Canadian Aftermarket to abandon CASIS (the Canadian Automotive Service Information Standard) and join the National Automotive Service Task Force (NASTF) in the U.S. The Automotive Aftermarket Retailers of Ontario (AARO) and other aftermarket stakeholders are leading the charge on this issue.

Also, industry advocates such as John Cochrane and myself are fully on board with this approach.

To understand why this issue needs to be resolved, you need to be aware of what CASIS does and why it’s not working very well.

Accessing OEM data

For starters, in order to work on modern vehicles you need access to OEM data and equipment. In addition to these requirements, access to immobilizer codes is critical to being able to start the vehicle after replacing security related components and Engine Control Modules. If you replace any of these components you will be required to perform a re-learn of some sort on the security system.

In addition to the CASIS agreement, manufacturers voluntarily agreed to provide security data for the Canadian aftermarket so that we could access security codes provided we had the proper credentials. In Canada that program was called VSP (Vehicle Security Profession) which was piggybacked onto the LSID program in the U.S. To summarize, the Canadian aftermarket should have access to all manufacturers’ factory information, factory tools and factory security codes.

This sounds good in theory but in practice, this is not what we wound up with. Some OEMs withhold security codes while others withhold or make some information difficult to access. The result of this is that we cannot properly service some vehicles due to a lack of information and access to security codes.

Imagine replacing the PCM on a late-model Honda and then having to take the car to the dealer to get the car started because you can’t get the security codes required to start the car. Or how about having a Mercedes-Benz in your shop and needing a wiring diagram to diagnose the door locks you are working on?

Finding solutions

In Canada you have to go to the M-B website, fill out an online application and email it to the OEM along with your credit card information. Then you have to wait up to 48 hours for the OEM to respond. Once they respond they will tell you which days you can access their site. You can wait two to three days between the time you request the data and when you get access to the data. Not very convenient when the car is sitting on your bay. None of these issues are new. They have been complained about for many years without anything getting resolved.

NASTF in the U.S. has solved these issues and many more. We need the access that our counterparts have. Not only are many of the U.S. sites different than the Canadian sites, but NASTF has access to all manufacturer data and security codes. In addition, they have a much stronger presence with the OEM manufacturers and can get issues fixed faster.

NASTF has agreed to allow the Canadian aftermarket to join NASTF, and they are in the process of putting pressure on the OEMs to resolve our issues. They have already made progress on these issues.

My recommendation—let’s roll CASIS into NASTF and have one solution for North America. Let’s get the access we need.

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